'Sully' will return to the cockpit

NEW YORK - September 28, 2009 Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger will pilot regular flights as well as joining the airline's flight operations safety management team. The airline said it was still working out the details of his return to flight duties.

Sullenberger, 58, has finished the training required to return to the cockpit and is eligible to fly, said US Airways Group Inc. spokesman Jonathan Freed. The requirements for returning to the cockpit include ground school, simulator training, and flying with a captain from the training department, he said.

On Jan. 15 Sullenberger ditched the Airbus A320 in the Hudson after a collision with a flock of geese killed power in both engines minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia airport. All 155 people on the plane survived. First Officer Jeffrey Skiles said in March that he would return to the cockpit.

In a statement released by the airline, Sullenberger said the months since the Jan. 15 incident have been full, "and my family and I have had some unforgettable experiences. However, I have missed working with my colleagues at US Airways and I am eager to get back in the cockpit with my fellow pilots in the months ahead."

Sullenberger wrote about the landing in "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters," with co-author Jeffrey Zaslow. The book is due out next month.

Sullenberger and Skiles have been lauded for their textbook response to the loss of power. Their plane was at just 2,800 feet, giving them just three and a half minutes to try to restart the engines or find an airport for a landing. He told the National Transportation Safety Board in June that he glided into the Hudson near Manhattan's ferry terminals to increase the chances of a rescue.

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